Beginner's Heart

A short while ago, a Facebook page called ‘The Christian Left’ asked its members to help support a FB ad. There was an innocuous ad:

Are you a Christian? Are you a Liberal or a Progressive too?

Do you feel alone in the ‘Conservative Christian’ world?

Join us.

However, FB pulled it. “Negative user feedback.” The idea that you can be Christian — follow the words of Jesus, believe in Christian salvation, and support liberal ideology — is antithetical to conservative, fundamentalist and evangelical Christians. Who seem to have the airwaves these days.

I don’t get it. My beginner’s heart hurts over this one. The same way it hurts when people justify homophobia, or racism, or Islamophobia through Biblical text. It’s the worst, most dangerous kind of cherry-picking. And it seems, to this Unitarian Buddhist who was raised in a traditional Christian home w/ years of vacation Bible school and Sundays w/ Mr. Morris (my long-time Sunday school teacher :), flat wrong.

Even if you believe in an historical Jesus, and are a devout Christian, the actual Bible was written by men (really — no women :(). It was edited, reworked, revised and translated by men. All human, all fallible. Even if you believe in divine inspiration, all of it — each word, each punctuation mark — was filtered through the infinitely flawed persons involved. Not one himself perfect.

And it’s such a complex, contradictory text. If you want to look to Leviticus for words against homosexuality, you have to take the rest of Leviticus as well. And really? We don’t want to… But Paul isn’t much better — rife w/ contradiction, spelling out in detail sexism, racism, and homophobia. Do we want to return to a time when women couldn’t cut their hair or speak in church, when slaves were acceptable, when widows couldn’t remarry…? In other words, we choose what we will follow from both the Old Christian Testament and the New Christian Testament. And far too little of what we choose is loving, these days…

You may think a Buddhist shouldn’t worry about such things. But Unitarians — and Buddhists — believe in the unity of all belief, of all beings. Every faith is a ladder to whatever home we all return to, if indeed we return :). It’s all different rooms in the same house, I used to tell my sons when they were small. If you want to dismiss and ridicule the various laws of the Qur’an as a Christian — and I know several Christians who, cloaked in ‘religion,’ do just that — several laws in Leviticus are at least as punitive and ridiculous. Be wary, Matthew says, of the log in your own eye, hypocrite…

My beginner’s heart grieves when I hear people defend a homophobic agenda — one that preaches hatred of dear friends, family members and wonderful colleagues.  That it’s clothed in a Jacob’s coat of colourful religious belief is even darker, and far worse. I can’t imagine the historical Jesus or the Christian Jesus preaching hatred of anyone. When organisations w/ honourable pasts, and admirable names, make statements like gays are responsible for Adolf Hitler, his Brown Shirts, and the Holocaust, I wonder what  Jesus they believe in. Certainly not the one who loved all the little children in my VBS class, even the gay ones. And not the black ones, according to several ostensibly Christian churches — racist Christianity is known as ‘Christian Identity.’ One presidential front-runner’s church even labeled the Pope as the Antichrist

So when the Christian Left has its ad yanked from Facebook because of ‘negative user feedback,’ you have to wonder: who doesn’t think Jesus believed in clothing the poor, feeding the hungry and being good Samaritans? Who has a problem w/ treating everyone w/ loving kindness? What’s wrong with believing that the Jesus who likened the rich man getting to heaven as a camel going through the eye of a needle, would have real problems w/ current corporate behaviours…? And if you do believe that hatred, class warfare, racism and homophobia are Biblically sanctioned, how do you call those fears Christianity…?

Previous Posts
Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus